Going to the future

2015-06-18 06:01

IN an article presented in the online Tourism Update, I was interested to see what Dutch futurist Albert Postma had to say about tourism trends for our continent.

The article suggested that in forward planning, destinations (including ours) need to bear in mind some provoking considerations.

Going to the future we need to recognise the importance of the more mature (age wise) traveller and plan for their interests and expectations. In planning one also has to recognise economic disparity within society and gear the tourism sell towards the various Living Standards Measure profiles recognising that many simply do not have the means to travel.

Modern urbanites seek authentic experiences through an element of nostalgia and given our cultural heritage assets, this has to be important. I am reminded of a trip to Australia where I attended a “show” on the Aboriginal culture near Cairns in Queensland.

I really felt that the depth of that amazingly rich culture was not adequately presented and the in-and-out of coaches and many camera clicking Japanese tourists like a cattle parade was the contrived and insincere intention.

Today’s tourist does shop around for online price benefit and our industry has to be realistic in how we cost our services. I have been told that during Africa Bike Week some hospitality providers pumped up their prices to unreasonable levels- my belief is that if we are consistent and appropriate in our pricing there are much better longer-term prospects for the Greater South Coast.

The Western Cape has in many instances priced its hospitality towards the pound, euro or dollar- based spender with the result that part of our domestic market has swung towards more-value-for- money-places for a holiday. We cannot fall into the risky trap of overpricing.

The other day I was at a world-famous fast-food outlet in Umhlanga Rocks and a sign in the outside area read “No meetings - seating for eating customers only”. Depending on how you read it, the patron either enjoys their meal or becomes the meal. If one equates that to pricing in our industry, the same principle applies.

There is scope for new markets stemming from Brazil, Russia, India and China and I know SA Tourism and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal have recognised this opportunity. Another trend is for extended families to hold reunions. Many of our families are dotted all over the world and it is this “come together tourism” that could be an option for us.

The cellphone culture is here and is being found across all age groups - hence our industry’s need to keep up to speed in terms of apps, Facebook, Twitter etc. Word of mouth – now word of screen is the most significant form of reputation marketing so if we get the experience right, our clients will do a further sell for us.

Here in paradise, if we use that gadget called the cellphone to spread a positive word about our destination we contribute towards that magnetic vibe to bring people down here

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